Microsoft Surface Duo Dual Screen Mobile Phone Review


Microsoft launches its dual-screen Android Surface Duo phone on 10 September, priced at $1,399. After months of Microsoft executives teasing the computer on Facebook, the company now allows everyone in the US today to pre-order the Surface Duo. Pre-orders at AT&T, Microsoft's online store, and Best Buy will be available.

Ultimately the Surface Duo is ready for release. This is all the latest on the hybrid phone-tablet-a Surface Phone in all but name.
 
Since at least 2016, Microsoft has been rumored to be working on a Surface Handset. Microsoft Surface Duo is the tool and Microsoft indicated it has been developing for quite some time to Pocket-lint. It's a dual-screen, Android based device that's foldable.Existing foldable phones and straight-up mini-tablets such as the iPad mini therefore deliver a different proposition. 
 

Here is what we have heard about the Surface Duo so far.

 
"It's definitely one of the sexiest devices we've ever created," says Panos Panay, chief of Windows and apps, in a press conference ahead of the launch today. "It's doing things that single-screen computers can't ever do." Panay 's Surface Duo aim is to improve ongoing usability, and Microsoft's software side has also done several impressive research to complement the hardware.



What is Surface Duo?


  • Tablet foldable and can be used as a tablet
  • Around Android


Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer Panos Panay illustrated at last year's Surface Launch event how Duo can do what you 'd expect from a modern smartphone and tablet.
 
You can use it, for example, to play with apps and make calls and it can even fit into your pocket. However, Panay said the company is not treating the new Surface Duo as a smartphone despite being able to use it for calls.

Panay has added some more background to the Surface Duo creation in a post to launch Surface Duo."When we developed Surface seven years ago, we decided to challenge orthodoxy by redefining ideas of what a productivity tool should be and what it should do. Simply put, we wanted to help people get stuff done." We didn't set out to combine two separate devices – the laptop and the tablet to find the perfect intersection between hardware and software that unlocks a more intuitive way of working and creating.

Yeah, Microsoft wants this to be a whole new form of product, capable of offering the user something different from the current 2-in-1 Surface devices in the industry. The aim is to cater to those who want to be successful on their smartphones, but fail to complete complex tasks away from a laptop-in other words, the Samsung Galaxy Note crowd.

Apparently Microsoft is apprehensive about selling this as a phone because of its problems in that market. Given the popularity of Surface Laptops and Tablets, Microsoft's forays into mobile devices have been disastrous.
 
Microsoft struggled to make its own mobile operating system a success, and its acquisition of Nokia in 2013 was one of the biggest failures in history, forcing Microsoft to write off $7.6bn. It eventually discontinued its work on the Windows Phone in 2017.
 


Surface Duo Price And Release Date


  • US launch on 10 September
  • Available at AT&T, Microsoft Shop and Best Buy 


As we mentioned, last October, Microsoft revealed the Surface Duo but warning it would not be on sale for some time to come. The time has come-AT&T, Microsoft Store and Best Buy will have it open. There are no specifics on a release date for Surface Duo in the UK or anywhere else.

The device is expensive - slated at $1,399 - but is not ridiculous compared with rivals' high-capacity versions like the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
 
We knew the launch would be soon because during the summer of 2020, Microsoft execs were fast showing off the Android-powered dual-screen system on Twitter. However, it has appeared in numerous regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Federal Communication Commission ( FCC), Japan's Ministry of Interior and Communications, and Bluetooth SIG-typically a indication that a commercial release is near.
 

 

Surface Duo Software

 
  • Android with a light skin based on Android 10 
  • Development now in house
 

Surface Duo runs Android, but a heavily skinned version of Google's mobile operating system which actually reminds us of Windows 10 X coming to some other Windows dual screen devices. It provides regular Android applications (via the Google Play Store), and calls can be placed or approved.
 
Of course the move to Android is interesting. Although Windows Mobile limped along for most of its existence before it was put out of its misery, after CEO Satya Nadella took over Microsoft's reins from Steve Ballmer in 2014, the "new Microsoft" has taken a radically different approach to the world's demand for smartphones.
 
Alternatively-it has concentrated on creating mobile applications that work well on iOS and Android alongside its Windows 10 effort. It's previously partnered with Apple to bring Office to the iPad as part of Apple's iPad Pro drive and it's now partnered with Google for this device. Yes, the home screen features a Google search bar.
 
Microsoft says it wants to help shape the dual-screen category "by offering continuity in how consumers view it and build applications for developers." And Panay made it clear that Microsoft is collaborating with Google to add Android functionality to make this process more seamless.
 
Some reports say a fast update to the imminent Android 11 will be made to the Surface Pair. However, while the dual-screen will function smoothly with Microsoft's own apps such as Office, it remains to be seen if other developers will make their own apps compatible. Microsoft has previously proposed covering this off with some on-device information though.
 
Interestingly, after initially contracting the job elsewhere to a third party called Movial, Microsoft now runs the Android production in house. Microsoft purchased Movial in July 2020 and it worked to get more of its workers into the family.
  
In his blog post, Panay recommends a few ways to use Surface Duo: "Open the Amazon Kindle app and read a book like a book. Setup Surface Duo screen as a tent and view video hands-free. Use the Surface Duo in Compose mode to quickly respond to an email, or turn it into a portrait to more immersively scroll through Web pages or images.
 


Surface Duo Displays

 
  • Dual 5.6-inch 1,800 x 1,350 OLED displays with an aspect ratio of 4:3 Will function separately or as a single 8.1-inch 2,700 x 1,800 3:2 screen (though with a bezel in the middle)
  • No external display
  • Surface Pen support


The Surface Duo looks much like the larger dual-screen Windows 10X-powered Surface Neo from Microsoft but it's more pocketable. It features two 5.6-inch color- and luminance-calibrated displays. It rotates on a 360-degree bespoke hinge and it acts as an 8.1-inch laptop with an aspect ratio of 3:2. The screens have an aspect ratio of 4:3, separately.
 
The screen is 4.8 mm thick and it'll be 9.6 mm folded together. That's thicker than most flagship phones but it's still good. Yet we can see some criticism on the horizon at the top and bottom of the displays for the thick bezels.
 
The device can fold together to protect the screens, or open up to allow simultaneous use of both screens. You can also have the computer closed, like a tablet, with one screen facing out. Corning's Gorilla Glass is used because the package includes a cover.
 
Every monitor is capable of running two separate apps at once. Any of the screens can also be used as a keyboard-the most likely case-or game controller.
 
Reports suggest that if you use a Windows PC with a second display the screens work in a similar fashion. Both screens will support the Surface Pen, so that it can attach to the outside magnetically-though that is not confirmed.
 
Walking Cat posted a video "peek" feature for the Surface Duo in February 2020. Through it, you will see more clearly how the device would function with alerts that appear on the right side of the window, and you can handle them without having to open the screen entirely. You can also open the Surface Duo completely for calls to accept an incoming call.
 

 

Surface Duo Hardware

 
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • It's a 4G device, no 5G
  • 6 GB memory and 64 GB capacity and up to 256 GB
 

The Surface Duo concept used a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 cpu, and in the final version, though we thought it would use the newer Snapdragon 865. It will however launch with 855 which, like many other key specs, is disappointing for the heavy price tag.
 
There will in effect be no 5 G version-although that will probably change in the future. There is an actual SIM port instead of being only or close to eSIM.

The device has the storage sizes of 6 GB of memory and 64/256 GB. Connectivity and data charging is via USB-C. We do assume that there is a fingerprint reader.
 
Like with other foldable devices there are two batteries that give you a total of 3,577mAh which is disappointing in the Galaxy Fold given the 4,380mAh. As a result, we don't expect stellar battery life-particularly given that there are two separate screens. Microsoft has previously said you're going to get battery life throughout the day, but we think the jury's a lot out there.
 


Surface Duo Camera
 

  • Single 11 megapixel camera
  • Video support up to 4K


Like other tablets (with the notable exception of the iPad Pro) the cameras are not the best-in-class but should still have a good experience. There's an 11 megapixel f/2.0 lens which supports 4 K and 60fps Full HD video-there 's not one outside. It also features image stabilization (digital not optical), plus a socket for 7x zoom and HDR.


Surface Duo Let’s Talk Software



This will be a familiar experience for Surface fans, and the opportunity to help you get work done faster is at the heart of the product. The Surface Duo was designed for flexibility, not just one path, but the ability to work on several items at one time. It feels like real multitasking with two computers, similar to using two monitors at a desk or even your desktop screen and one external display. With the Pair, on the right screen you can have Notifications open, and when you tap a connection to a web page, it will open on the left.
 
That's cool, but imagine it for more efficient activities. You may be writing an email on the left in Outlook, and need to open OneDrive to pull in assets on the right. You will make a call for a team to the left and take notes to the right. To the right Twitter and to the wrong Instagram.
 
There are infinite possibilities and you can even save these on your home screen as User Classes. There is also full support for switching between both screens with the ability to drag or even copy and paste objects between the two. When you're done with an item, simply swipe it up to close.

You 're not limited to either swiping your finger or tapping a fingertip or two on your keyboard, either. The Surface Duo supports all Pen types including the $78.99 Surface Pen, $111.14 Surface Slim Pen and the $169.99 Surface Hub 2 Pen. You can also use a Pen at the same time and touch it.


Use cases need to bubble to the Surface



Keep in mind, we haven't had the opportunity to go hands-on with Surface Duo, but the Duo is inherently a Surface from what we can tell and the intrigue it's been building. It's not so much a luxury price for a smartphone at $1,399.99, but it appears to bring great value to an Android device's Windows productivity wiz.

Microsoft's customizations illustrate what various screens can do with the workflow. Microsoft has provided an excellent example of use case and workflow. You should be on the left in a team meeting, when taking notes on the right. To start, you don't need to close out an app. If you want to experience a classic camera, fold one of the screens so it's flat ... You are getting an Android experience of 5.2 inches, and the device is not going to be thicker than a normal phone.

It seems like the best of all worlds and this is a perfect tool for both on-the-go and working around the house for Surface enthusiasts.

For Microsoft, the Surface Duo is a new group, and some may argue for re-entering into one.
Yet the Duo has a lot in his favor with support for Ios, impressive architecture and flagship-level hardware. We suggest a preorder if you're interested, and if you're like us, you 're eager to see how these cases come to fruition until you can fold and unfold the Duo for yourself.
 

128GB Surface Duo ($1,399.99)
256GB Surface Duo ($1,499.99)
 
MICROSOFT SURFACE DUO ARRIVES ON SEPTEMBER 10th FROM $1,399
Pre-orders For Android Phone From Microsoft Launch Today

Note: The above prices represent the prices reported by the retailer at the time of publishing.


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